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Reunion & Mayotte: Overseas France Series

Updated on March 10, 2020

Do you know any places on Earth that are both in Africa and Europe?

Now, you know some, these are the two French departments Réunion and Mayotte.

What is special about them? Why do people visit them? And what you can do there?



There is no way you have not heard about Mauritius, a popular destination for beach lovers. Well, Réunion is right next to it. This cute small island has its charms, from beaches with dolphins, mountains and a volcano, to cute streets with markets, and a lot more.

This island is located in the Indian Ocean, it is one of France's overseas departments and one of only two, located in Africa, the other one being Mayotte.

Here you can visit: Le Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Natural History Museum, the beaches, Saint-Paul's market, or just go hiking, everything is within one reach.

The great thing is that the island is not overrun by tourism, and at the same time it has laid-back vibes and you can visit all year round because it is in a perpetual state of summer and sun.

Réunion Island Mountain View
Réunion Island Mountain View


If you go northwest of Réunion, you will reach Madagascar, and if you go a little bit further north, there is another place in the Indian Ocean, part of the African continent and an overseas territory of France. This is Mayotte.

Mayotte consists of two main islands, Grande-Terre and Petite-Terre, and some smaller islets.

Although one of the poorest French regions and known for its illegal immigration, especially from neighbouring and poorer Comoros, this not very popular destination does not fail at attracting some tourists and offers worthy things to experience.

These include, visiting Lake Dziani, climbing mount Benara, sunbathing on the beautiful beaches of Labattoir village, and kayaking in Bandrele.

I mean, just look at this:

Chissioua Mtsamboro, Mayotte
Chissioua Mtsamboro, Mayotte

Visiting: Things to Know

Both places offer great climates for visiting throughout the whole year. The abundance of natural sights, combined with beautiful local cultures, nice weather and different summer activities, gives you so many reasons to adore these tiny parts of the world.

The cuisines are very similar to each other and to other countries in the Indian Ocean, close to the coast of Africa. They are definitely perfect for foodies. You can get a large and delicious variety of foods: rice, dumplings, spices, seafood, different fruits and vegetables, roots and herbs, and a lot more.

When it comes to safety, you need to take normal precautions in both places. But just like anywhere in the world, make sure that you take care of your belongings.

As in many other tropical regions, where malaria is prevalent, you will also need to take anti-malaria medicine.

Knowing some French would be useful if traveling there, but even just a few necessary phrases in the language could help you for a short-term stay.

Overall, these two beautiful exotic regions that make up a tiny part of France offer beautiful climate and hospitable people. There are so many reasons why these places are so magnificent and special, you can even put them on your travel bucket list.

© 2019 Tery Peta


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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      Thanks for the detailed answer. I wondered if there was a creole French.

    • Tory Peta profile imageAUTHOR

      Tery Peta 

      17 months ago from Bulgaria

      Thanks for your question, Liz. French is the official language of both Réunion and Mayotte. In Réunion the majority speak Creole French. There are a few other languages such as Tamil. In Mayotte almost everyone speaks a dialect of Comorian, which is very similar to Swahili (spoken in East Africa), in the South they have a dialect of Malagasy, which is official in Madagascar. There are other languages as well. But they teach French in schools and immigrants from mainland France also speak French natively. These areas are very linguistically diverse. In both regions French, although with a native accent, is spoken.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      I had heard of Reunion, but not Mayotte. Do they speak pure French there or is it a dialect form of French with some local changes?

    • Tory Peta profile imageAUTHOR

      Tery Peta 

      17 months ago from Bulgaria

      Thank you for your comment! You are right, it is a small piece of heaven brought to us.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      17 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      And who said we can't find some heaven on earth!! Thanks for sharing.


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